9.1 General context
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The objectives, directions, and tasks of Latvia's implemented development cooperation policy are based on the Guidelines for Development Cooperation Policy 2021-2027. With these Guidelines, Latvia reaffirms its commitment to contributing to sustainable and democratic development of the world and partner countries, as well as addressing global challenges. The Guidelines continue the evolution of Latvia's development cooperation policy and system, which has been shaping for over 15 years.
In development cooperation policy, Latvia emphasizes the importance of cooperation and partnership in all stages of development cooperation, both within the Latvian development cooperation community and in relations with partner countries and other development cooperation actors, particularly within the European Union. Latvia supports inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation and partnership in development cooperation, highlighting the role and added value of various stakeholders, including government institutions, local authorities, civil society, academic institutions, the private sector, and their experts. In implementing development cooperation, Latvia is also open to collaboration with other donors, especially in regions where Latvia's involvement has been limited.
The National Development Plan for 2021-2027 (NDP2027) is Latvia’s highest national-level medium-term planning document. It has been developed in accordance with the Latvian Sustainable Development Strategy until 2030 (Latvia2030) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that the quality of life improves for each individual, and society as a whole over the next seven years. Latvia2030 defines Latvia's long-term development vision. It is the highest national level long-term development document and the main planning document that defines the spatial development perspective - an integrated view of the country's balanced and sustainable development.
The Education Development Guidelines 2021-2027 have been developed defining goals and sub-goals for Latvia’s education system. One of the strategic goals is the provision of modern and high-quality education. In general education particular emphasis is on a competence-based approach, where global education and global citizenship are included transversally.
A National Action Plan to design the process of implementation is being developed, as well as a new educational reform is being planned. Ministry of Education and Science supports the implementation and activities of the global movement “Education for All” and implementation of development cooperation in education by annually allocating funding to the UNESCO Latvia. The paradigm of global education and education for sustainable development is reflected in Latvia’s new competence-based general education curriculum. The learning process is built on attitudes and values for responsible citizenship - ability to express one’s position on social, economic and political processes, take responsible decisions and have a positive impact on welfare locally and globally, including recognise injustice and act to prevent it, treat with tolerance different cultures and their heritage.
Term “Global education” is not included in the curriculum for secondary school content, however, it is presented as an outcome of general level of learning. For example, ability to assess the impact of territorial change and modernisation of society in order to explain the development, causes, consequences and role of supranational organisations in addressing economic and political issues. Curriculum includes competences such as critical thinking, civic responsibility, problem solving, tolerance, among others.
Youth interest in global issues
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 study included Global Competence. The PISA 2018 Global Competence study showed the following results for Latvia:
- 93% of students use two or more languages on daily basis;
- 53% of students would like to explore other cultures;
- 75% of students are aware of global challenges, for example, famine and poverty;
- 72% of students are aware of gender equality challenges in different parts of the world;
- 75% of students are aware of causes of climate change;
- 76% of students are aware of the effect of economic development on environment.
During the summer of 2022, the EU Youth Dialogue's 9th cycle consultation phase in Latvia have shed light on youth interest and participation in global issues. One prominent topic of concern is education and training regarding climate change and its connection to social inequality. While young people acknowledge the abundance of information available on the internet, they also express suspicions and distrust towards online sources due to the spread of fake news. To engage young people more effectively, it is suggested that content creators develop blogs and other engaging platforms in Latvian, delivering information in an interesting and trend-following manner. Furthermore, young people value information from their schools, friends, family, and non-formal education activities. Participation in Erasmus+ projects has been particularly highlighted as a valuable source of information for many young people. The creation of applications focused on climate change and social inequality, incorporating quizzes and orientation games, is recommended to enhance young people's understanding of these issues. Overall, while there are challenges to young people's interest and participation in global issues in Latvia, such as misinformation and limited access to information, efforts are being made to engage and empower young people through diverse channels, involving them in decision-making processes, and providing opportunities for mobility and sustainable living.